Plateau du Mauvais Berger

Plateau du Mauvais Berger

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Discover the bird’s eye view of the valley from the Col du Barbier and then cross the wild pastures of Mauvais Berger.

I remember one autumn morning when only the grouse disturbed the silence of the alder tree. When I arrived at the Col du Barbier before sunrise, there was a high altitude cloud ceiling. When the sun rose from the crests of the Italian border, its rays lit the clouds, setting the alpine pastures and walls of the Rateau d´Aussois ablaze with orange and hues of purple. There was not a soul in sight, just silence. It was magnificent. Pierre Lacosse, Vanoise National Park ranger


From the Parking de la Carrière, descend and cross the road.Follow the paved road on your left which gœs down to the dyke of the Plan d’Amont dam. Cross the dyke. Turn right and you will come to a signpost. Climb to the Col du Barbier. Aim towards a promontory with a pine tree. Retrace your steps on the GR5 towards a signpost for the Refuge du Fond d’Aussois. Follow the GR5. At a sloping ledge, you will find another signpost. Go down the GR5 in the direction of the Pont de la Sétéria. Once you arrive at the Pont de la Séraéria, do not cross it but follow the track on the right bank of the lake in the direction of Aussois until you return to the car park.
  • Departure : Car park at the Plan d’Amont dam (Aussois)
  • Arrival : Car park at the Plan d’Amont dam (Aussois)
  • Towns crossed : AUSSOIS

Altimetric profile


Ÿou won’t find drinking water on the route. Make sure you take the appropriate equipment and footwear with you.
Is in the midst of the park
The national park is an unrestricted natural area but subjected to regulations which must be known by all visitors.

Information desks

43 route des Barrages, 73500 Aussois

https://www.aussois.cominfo@hautemaurienne.com04 79 05 99 06



Rail connection to Modane. Information:
Then transport by coach to the administrative centre of Aussois. Information:
No public transport between Aussois and the dam site.
Suggested hitchhiking organised in the Haute-Maurienne valley. Information:


Access and parking

At Modane, take the D 215 in the direction of Aussois. Once you’ve arrived in Aussois, go to the top of the village and take the small road that rises towards the dams. Leave a panoramic viewpoint on the left and take a steep road on the right for 100 m to reach the dam.

Parking :

Car park provided by the municipality for the entire dam site, departure point for all hikes.

More information

8 points of interest

  • Architecture

    The Plan d’Aval Dam

    "Crossing the dyke of the Plan d´Aval dam, you will notice its double vault construction standing on a rocky bastion. The dam is made of cut stone, part of which comes from the old quarry, known as the ""tile"" which now contains the car park. Built between 1945 and 1956, these two water reservoirs are integrated into the Haute-Maurienne hydrœlectric system and help to fill the Mont-Cenis dam."
  • Viewpoint

    View over the village of Aussois

    Ÿou have already climbed 150 m, enjoy a short break on this sloping ledge within a hairpin bend to the left. A superb view over the village of Aussois awaits you. With the help of the photo, you will be able to see that the old village was concentrated over a few roads. The area was preserved for hay meadows and crops. The wooded areas, then, occupied little space on this slope which was used entirely for agriculture.
  • Fauna

    The wolf

    The wolves inhabiting the valley come from Italy and hence are called Abruzzo wolves. They are distinguished by their white mask and black line on the tibia. The wolves live in packs of 2 to 5 on average. The wolf is a carnivore which feeds mainly on ungulates such as deer or chamois. Only the dominant pair of the pack breeds. The cubs are born in a den in late spring. Although the preferred habitat of the wolf is the forest, it ventures into the alpine pastures in search of easy prey such as flocks of sheep.
  • Pastoralism

    Goats and sheep

    On this alpine pasture of the “mauvais berger” goats and sheep are to be found. The goats are dairy cattle that descend the pasture every evening to be milked. Their milk is used for the local production of cheese. The lambs and sheep are sent to the meat industry. The lambs are born around March and grow all summer in the alpine pastures. Only the breeding ewes are kept in the sheepfold for winter. The Mauvais Berger flock consists of animals from several different owners. Pooling the flocks means the costs of herd care are shared.
  • Viewpoint

    The Fond d’Aussois and the dams

    The two dammed lakes occupy the site of two ancient alpine pastures. A project for a third lake was to be used to flood the Fond d´Aussois pasture. These three successive plateaus are the result of fillings by the glacial basin. Three shallow lakes were to exist at the melting of the glaciers. They were filled by fluvio-lacustrine deposits to then become these hospitable alpine pastures. The photo shows the two alpine pastures of Plan d´Aval and Plan d´Amont crossed by the gentle mountain stream of Saint-Benoit.
  • History

    Vanoise National Park

    “Here there is space. Here there is pure air. Here there is silence. The kingdom of flawless dawns and naive beasts...”. It was with these words that Samivel wrote the commandments of the National Park upon its creation in 1963. Ÿou enter a protected area, “the great garden of the French” which it is your responsibility to protect. The regulations are displayed on the various panels intended for hikers.
  • Flora

    The cembra pine

    The pinus cembra is comprised of the cembro or arolla pine. The hardwood is used in cabinet-making. Its long needles, in ascicles of five, make it easily recognisable. Mountaineers consume the cones or seeds, competing with the spotted nutcracker. The cembro pine climbs up to 2,300 m and is fond of acid soil and varied orientations. Together with the rhododendron, bilberries and cranberries, it constitutes the forest boundary.
  • Flora


    This shrub adorns the mountain with the most beautiful colours from mid-June until the end of July. In Greek, Rhododendron means “red tree” and its ferruginous qualities come from the rusty colour of the underside of its leaves. The rhododendron finds it is perfectly at home on the slopes where the snow persists and thereby offers it protection against the frost.